Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowshoeing at Spring Valley Nature Center

I was pretty excited when the snow started falling on Friday.  I have been wanting to try snowshoeing for awhile and made it a resolution to try it this year.  Since we have not had much snow this year (which has made me a happy driver), we have not really had the opportunity to venture out on a snowshoe hike.  But, the weather has finally cooperated so we made our first snowy trek this afternoon!



I chose Schaumburg's nature preserve at Spring Valley for our first snowshoeing adventure.  We frequent Spring Valley for hikes and to visit the Volkening Heritage Farm during warmer months.  Since we are so familiar with Spring Valley and we could rent snowshoes there, it was a logical choice for today's adventure.

We began our journey by renting snowshoes.  Snowshoes can be rented at Spring Valley's Nature Center from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM, with all rentals to be returned by 4:30 PM.  The rental costs $4 and you must leave your driver's license or another ID as a deposit.  There are different choices of snowshoes.  For adults, the preserve mainly has more vintage-like racket snowshoes.  For children, the preserve provides more modern snowshoes.  I was actually pretty stoked to use the racket snowshoes--totally the classic experience that I expected!  Before you are able to gear-up, you are required to watch a video that explained snowshoe usage.  I thought that the tips were pretty useful.

We had a great time on our hike through the preserve.  My daughter was a little speed demon and outpaced my husband and myself in her spiffy snowshoes!   Despite the fact that my daughter watched the whole instructional video, she kept stepping on our snowshoes, thereby further slowing us down even further!  The preserve was beautiful under its white blanket.  We did not see much wildlife, but I did not really expect to.  We did find some deer tracks, which were cool.  We also saw a number of birds and were able to identify a few.  My daughter had a fun time trying to identify all of the trees.  We stumbled on an area were a number of the trees are labelled, so she had to wipe off each and every plaque to identify the trees. 

After a little over an hour of hiking, we went back to the Nature Center.  Our decision to turn back could not have been timed any better---it started to ice rain as we were walking back.  After the hike, we spent some time exploring the exhibits in the Nature Center.  Many of the exhibits were winter themed and depicted wildlife in the winter months.  The Nature Center also has a live exhibit with native grass, trees, fish, and turtles.   Stopping by the live exhibit is always a must for us-we always have to visit the turtles!  

We love Spring Valley and look forward to our next adventure there.  Currently, the grounds are open 8AM-5PM and the Nature Center is open from 9AM-5PM.  During the warmer months, April 1-October 31, the grounds are open 8AM-8PM and the Nature Center is open 9AM-5PM.   The Volkening Heritage Farm is open April 1-October 31, Tuesdays-Fridays, 9AM-2PM, and Saturdays and Sundays, 10AM-4PM.  There are many programs at Spring Valley throughout the year.  Check out the website for more details.



4 comments:

  1. sounds like fun for the whole family!! and all seasons too.

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  3. Great pictures!! Never been snowshoeing, seems like you had a nice little adventure :)

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  4. Look at those tiny CUTE little Feet!!!! Would love to do that with you guys!!! Thanks for Sharing your experience!!!!

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